A fundraiser to purportedly help save the life of a young Palestinian girl was spreading in replies under popular tweets on Twitter in February 2023. However, we noticed several red flags that indicated this may not have been what it claimed to be.
One such tweet from an account named Amoon Qasim (@Am9Gaza) read, "Urgent relief is here to save a Palestinian girl."
Note: After this story was published, this account's handle was changed to @InSanGaza and then @Rahma9Q.
That tweet pointed to another tweet that said, "This Palestinian mother asks benefactors to save her daughter, who suffers from shortness of breath and blockages in the arteries. The child now needs $6,000 urgently. Please donate a little via the direct link."
The user copied and pasted these same responses under numerous tweets.
The @Am9Gaza account was created last month and appeared to previously be known under a different handle. New accounts and changed handles can be red flags, indicating scams.
The tweet included a link to a fundraising page on social.fund that was titled, "Save the Palestinian girl."
We looked into the origins of the photo on this page.
The fundraising page contained no identifying information regarding the child's name or specific location, other than, "A woman living in the Occupied Palestinian Territories." It only showed the supposed name of an organizer and beneficiary: "Al rahma Gaza."
The same picture from the fundraising page had previously been posted on Facebook in 2018. Much like the 2023 tweets, the post didn't include any specific identifying details for the girl.
We also noticed that the picture on the fundraising page matched a photograph from an article that was published in 2017. This was the biggest red flag that we found, as old pictures used without permission often appear in online scams.
According to the 2017 news article from innfrad.com, the young girl in the picture was named Farida and the photograph was captured in Cairo, Egypt. She was diagnosed with spinal muscular atrophy (SMA). This was very different from the tweet that claimed the Palestinian girl who needed to be saved was suffering from "shortness of breath and blockages in the arteries."
On Jan. 5, 2023, the @IlmFeed Twitter account tweeted, "Scam warning! Do not donate to this fundraiser. This account has been replying to our tweets with a fundraising link but it is a scam. One of the photographs used is of a Syrian girl who was helped by Turkiye. When we challenged them via DM, they blocked us."
The @IlmFeed user's bio showed its mission as being tweeting "positive stories about Muslims, inspirational articles, videos, podcast and more."
"Always donate through registered charities or people who you personally know," @IlmFeed added.
We reached out to an email address that was associated with the fundraiser but did not yet receive a response.